Its fall! Gotta say I love fall, the coolness on that first day this week, when I was letting Starbuck out, and it was cooler outside than in…. it just lightens my heart. …. Well that is, before the little kid voice pipes up with “Hurrah Pumpkin” — but I digress.
I adore my stepmother. She is this good fairy spirit in my life that sort of floats around in the distance, and is there much like Glenda the good witch when you need her. In my youth, I’d come over to visit her, before my dad got home from work, and she would make this incredible no bake Cheesecake.
Its no secret that one of my top ten foods is Bagels with Cream cheese. I think I lived most of my early college career on a combination of McD’s and Bagels with Cream cheese. — Cheesecake falls into the “I don’t have to taste a bagel to get the same satisfying taste.
I had talked to B (stepmother) a few months back about her recipe. She hasn’t made one of these in years, and I think she was a little … resistant to give me the recipe when she pulled it out and found it so so full of very very “not healthy” ingredients. I had to enlist some of my charm and persuasion to get her to finally acquiesce and hand it over.
I’m not gonna lie here – as an example, one of the main ingredients in the cheesecake was “cool whip”– there was some work here. I’ve been praying over this recipe for a few months. Asking for intuition and guidance as to “how to replicate a healthier version” – Many dreams have come to me where I produced the thing with only the healthiest of ingredients — of course dreams are just that – a product of our hopes, beliefs and will all incorporated into one magical source. But I had a plan.
There are three parts to the perfect no bake cheesecake. One a perfect crust. Two a perfect filling. and Three time for one to connect with two, and become solid.
Activation energy is something I’ve been struggling with, and its one thing to have this amazing empowering dream about how to do something, and then wake with only the feeling of “amazing” “empowering” and no idea where the list of what was involved is, or how to start.
I waited. This is something I’ve worked on cultivating for twenty or so years. Patience. I have found recently that its an interesting thing to me…. minor digression needed here.
P&I have talked recently and he has specifically asked me to “not” call the anxiety experience I’m having PTSD or CPTSD which seems potentially a bit more applicable. – To be fair I’ve only been using them because they were “easy” labels to put on a something that I am feeling/struggling with that isn’t forthright to explain. So we resolved to use the expression “Light on” or “Light off” – meaning either I am in hyper fight or flight mode “Light On” or I’m in zen relax mode “Light off” or maybe the light is flashing like a disco ball (struggling to stay in zen and falling into bunny trying to sneak out the carrots from the yard) … On the one hand, I feel like I have a MUCH better appreciation for Squirrels and Rabbits, and the life they must live – on the other, I’ve lived my entire life basically that way up until this year. Healing takes place in Lights Off Mode, so I’ve been trying to learn to cultivate that as a more static occurrence.
As odd as this will be to say, I’ve noticed that alot of my “life tools” the ones I’ve worked so hard to cultivate or enhance, I just don’t know how at all to access in Lights off mode….. Patience, quite oddly is one of those. Lights off has its own set of things slowing down, but this is not at all like patience. Its a rhythm associated with time and experience. Patience is finding things for the mind to do, while not allowing the emotions to amplify while you wait. IE – remaining happy in the experience.
Well, I’ve gotten happy with being in “Lights off mode” and that’s taken significantly more effort than is probably reasonable. I am a stubborn spoiled princess after all. — One of my favorite tools from Lightswitch On mode is the ability to mentally multitask 15-20 things at once, and that is just NOT possible in Lightswitch Off mode.
Back to point. I’ve had these dreams – quite a few of them, with all the ingredients laid out that produced these perfect cheesecakes…. and my Lights off mode — I don’t remember them 🙂
So this week. I started to take a different approach, because after months of buying – and then Rebuying – expiration dates and all you know — all the ingredients to attempt to “make” this masterpiece…. I finally decided “Enough of that” and threw myself into more “conscious” thoughts of “how do I do this”
So Part one – the Crust. I knew it needed a binder, and I knew it needed a good bit of flavor, because I wanted it to be a great healthy replacement for the yummy graham cracker crust that the original had. My initial thought was to make something that I could enjoy eating like a granola if it didn’t work out as a pie/pastry crust — and my resolution was that if I could get it to work – it would also be highly leverage able for Pumpkin things – this engaged the inner child which was extremely helpful with remembering to work on the ingredient list, and also activation energy. Boundless energy of that inner child – this is something really good to leverage, particularly as it helps bring a temporary respite from emotional eating to satisfy her “I’m bored” tendency.
Just like the myriad and litany of supplements in my life over the past few years, crowding themselves in a community around the coffee maker — I suppose it’s a good thing that they do not require social distancing, because then they would be unable to spread their healthy goodness from one to the other. — I have also had a pretty consistent montage of “healthy easy to include” ingredients on my kitchen counter. Psyllium Husk, Flax Seed, Sesame Seed, Chia Seed, Powdered Raw Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Nips (can you tell I like chocolate alot), as well as an ever prevalent supply of every nut and seed in existence. – Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. – (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Pistachios)
I devised my first attempt – following the general principle of “KISS – keep it simple” and just used some nuts and seeds with a bit of oatmeal for the dry – then I consulted my housebound Oracle – aka P – for best kitchen tool to use for the application – we evolved the plan, and I proceeded. – Grinding them all into a almost like flour but mostly still somewhat solid mix.
The dry ingredients done, I moved onto the wet – these would need to bind it, but would also (due to the use of raw egg) prevent me from sampling prior to baking. I knew the mixture would require some sort of sweet – in order to make it tasty enough to be cravable, but also make it a type of granola alternative that would work in a pinch as a snack. So we went with egg, butter, and molasses – it made sense to include the seasonings with the wet – and since I had a plan for the taste, it was pretty easy to know to use Vanilla and Pumpkin pie spice. I will say, I’ve found recipes I’ve looked at so so timid with the use of spices, its almost like they are scared of them or something. This is a fear I’ve decided to chuck out the window. To quote a fav movie of mine “the spice must flow” — I have also found that while I’m certain it is possible to include “too much spice” — I haven’t gotten to that limit very much in my experimentation… and this is pretty much doubling sometimes tripling whatever the recipe calls for…. it has also helped that a few years ago I went on a “lets use up the spices so we can cycle them for freshness” kick – and even with my increases I’m struggling with this endeavor – Spices, even if you are consistently using them on the regular take a LONG time to run out of…. Kinda makes me wonder at the places that make a profit just selling spices? Where are all these tasty things going?!?
Dry ready, Wet ready – Oven pre-heated – I mixed, and pasted into the pan – with a little tiny extra left over to “sample” – this way if it tasted good I had my pie pan ready, and if not 🙂 well it was an easy clean up. The cooking time was pretty easy – I have some type of internal Voodoo about baking times – either that or its just a mental method that fortunately IS a leverage talent or skill – of knowing “when to fold them” — today seems overly abundantly full of my favorite colloquialisms – I guess its because I’m happy about the end result, and happy to be saving it here. Or maybe its not any more full, and I’m just having a “just keep swimming moment” and not even realizing it. Either way, I digress —
After baking came time to cool. We sampled the “side piece” and I was so happy with how it turned out! It would be great! — so I protected my new crust, let it cool completely, covered it and put it into the fridge. Activation energy for the day spent; and had to implement “child on a mission” to the next part – the filling.
Yesterday I woke up and had a billion appts – okay not a billion but my usual handful on Fridays. Got to spend time with R, which is always great, and by the time I got back and was able to breath and relax into the house….. the “feed me seymore” voice popped up and I went to the fridge – only to see my pie crust beautiful and waiting to be filled…..
Now I hate throwing away food – and I think after losing the ingredients twice in “Fridge debacle 2020” — I had alot of pent up sadness around this cheesecake — its not that the ingredients are overly expensive, but having to throw them away, with creativity unspent, well its the worst.
So I looked at this beautiful pie crust, and I checked the dates on the ingredients I knew I’d need – and they were perfect, but I realized this crust needed to be used “very soon” — not just the “soon” that is normal with “aka nfi how long” — but the “very soon” which is more synonymous with “now, right now, do it now” — So I paused. I wasn’t really hungry and this cheesecake wasn’t going to whip itself up — trust me I’ve tried doing a little dance, making a little love to get this thing to do the whole Sleeping beauty fairies in my kitchen, and it was apparently beyond my skills so I’d have to do the whipping myself.
I had a vision of what I wanted this to be, and I had a few ingredients I knew were required, and a few I suspected would be required, and then the whimsical “lets try this” — and I say a few, because its really only a couple of things 🙂
I consulted the oracle about which tool would be my best, and explained to him the concept and the idea. His recommendation in hand, and a few battles with some dead bugs and dust that had found homes in our mixer but had to be absconded before beginning….. We were off and running.
The idea was a whip cream like cheesecake, that would set enough to be cuttable – and be pretty of course, ascetics aren’t all of life, but they are a pleasing part of it . The thing about no-bakes is they are light and fluffy, and I was trying to replicate the cool whip aspect from the original, so it was Heavy on Heavy cream. I figured if it was a fall, I could back on knowledge of an amazing crust, and it would be eatable either way, cause I could taste this element before assembly.
Getting a texture that seemed okay, and a taste that seemed great – room temp cream cheese, 5% plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, honey all mixed, and then a significant amount of heavy cream whipped in to bring it all together. The stuff tasted great, now the question became would it set or would I have to try attempt two with some gelatin mix – not a huge fan but something to help it set might be prudent.
Now on to step 3 – this was a little harder with the little kid bouncing up and down so excited in my head with “we did it we did it” — and me saying “hush we don’t know yet if its done” — but after two hours of implementation of “we know how to have patience, and it needs to set” – I got to break into it and it was beautiful. The first piece like all pies, is super hard to get out “pretty” but this was not a horrible thing, and the best part was it set up nicely even with only two hours.
I went back on hour three and it had set up even more firmly – so I’m certain today it have continued its journey on to firmness. It tastes yummy, and while its not overly sweet, its just great. It would take any type of drizzle one wanted for a cheesecake, and I’m 100% certain I could make a pumpkin flat cake and use this as a filling for it.
Success achieved. I documented my entire recipe, so I can do the precise thing again, and I’m so so happy about this… I had to call B and let her know last night, I took pictures and shared with a few others, but overall I’m just so happy it worked as I’d hoped.